Gartner's grim IT hiring outlook

Summary:Gartner released its 2008 IT market compensation study this week and the news was anything but upbeat. A decline in IT hiring is anticipated, and according to one analyst, pure tech workers are going to have the hardest time.

IT professionals are seeing signs like this.
Gartner released its 2008 IT market compensation study this week and the news was anything but upbeat. Projecting that IT organizations would be cautious about their 2008 and 2009 hiring plans due to IT budget cuts, a decline in IT hiring is anticipated.

Though nearly 58 percent of U.S.-based IT organizations projected an increase in their IT staff levels, including full-time employees and contractors, this was a notable drop from the 66 percent who reported the same in the 2007 study. Furthermore, the percentage of organizations that projected that they'd be increasing their headcount by more than 10 percent in the coming year slipped more than three percentage points from the year prior.

So what will this mean if you were hoping to land a new gig or full-time job in the coming year? Diane Berry, managing vice president for Gartner's CIO workforce group and a coauthor on of the study, says that the best way for IT professionals to improve their marketability to pick up as much business experience and competence as possible.

"The HR leaders and CIOs I talk to are having a hard time finding the talent that they need," Berry explained. "They're looking for some people with business expertise or competence, who are keeping their skills relevant. They're hungry for good talent, and it would be best to learn as much of the business as you can. It increases your value tenfold."

What this means for IT workers that would like to stay entrenched in technology is less clear.

"You're going to need to have that business expertise, so if I was an 18-year old going into college I would be marrying my CS degree with a business degree," said Berry.

Do you agree? Do you think pure tech players are going to have a rougher time in the coming year than those that hone their business skills?

Topics: CXO, IT Employment, IT Priorities

About

Deb Perelman is a journalist in New York City with a focus on tech and the daily grind. Previously she was a reporter for eWEEK, leading the magazine and Web site's coverage of the issue and trends that affect IT workers.

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